Pets and Animals
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Deers seen in the fauna of Kerala

Deer is a mammal belonging to the Cervidae family under the Ruminantia Suborder of Artiodactyla order. Adult males are called stags, dark brown in color, they sport huge horns. Females, which are called does, are light brown with no horns. It is a characteristic of the deer family that all males shed their horns annually. When new horns grow they have a silky, velvety texture and hence are called ‘velvets’.

Kerala forests are home to three species of deer. They are Sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), and Spotted deer (Cervus (Axis) Axis), which is also known as Chital. The largest of the three species of deer in Kerala is the Sambar deer. Chital or Spotted Deer is the most elegant and beautiful among the three. They can be found in large numbers in Parambikulam and Chinnar sanctuaries but are absent in high elevation regions.

The third species – the Barking Deer, so called because of its bark like call, is very shy and a denizen of our evergreen forests. They are often solitary or seen in pairs but not in large numbers like the other two species. The favorite food of all deer species is grass, leaves and wild fruits.

Being a ruminant animal, deer digests its food in two steps. First eating the food as a raw material, secondly it regurgitates the eaten food and chew the cud.